Prince William's Indian ancestry revealed by DNA analysis

Prince WilliamThe DNA analysis of saliva samples taken from the Duke of Cambridge's relatives have established a direct lineage between the 30-year-old prince and an Indian housekeeper on his mother Princess Diana's side. (Reuters)

mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), inherited only from a mother.

It has so far been recorded in only 14 other people, 13 Indian and one Nepalese. The revelation explains why the Scottish father of Eliza's children suddenly deserted her and sent their daughter, Katherine, to Britain at the age of six.

Researchers have discovered letters from Eliza to Forbes pleading for her to be allowed to see him.

When Forbes died on a ship back to Britain in 1820 his will referred to Eliza as his "housekeeper" and the mother of his "reputed natural daughter" Katherine.

"Knowing something about your DNA and its origins in prehistory definitely changes your sense of yourself, and one way that it does that is to make you feel part of a world community," said Alistair Moffat, the founder of BritainsDNA.

The researchers also used another type of genetic evidence, autosomal markers, scattered across the genomes of Princess Diana's two matrilineal cousins and compared them to a global database of samples.

"These inherited autosomal markers equate to about 20-50 million letters of DNA out of 6 billion in total. It is therefore very likely that Prince William has not only

inherited a small proportion of Indian DNA from Eliza Kewark but his heirs will also carry it," the researchers concluded.

"I always assumed that I was part-Armenian so I am delighted that I also have an Indian background," said Mary Roach, Princess Diana's maternal aunt who was one of two relatives who provided the DNA samples.

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